Ross Introduces Legislation to Account for Federal Employees' Use of Official Time
WASHINGTON, D.C., Mar. 6, 2017 – U.S. Rep. Dennis A. Ross (FL-15), Senior Deputy Majority Whip, released the following statement after introducing H.R. 1293, legislation requiring the Office of Personnel Management to submit an annual report to Congress relating to the use of “official time” by federal employees:
“I introduced H.R. 1293 so Congress may better account for federal employees’ use of working hours and eliminate wasteful spending. This bill will require the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to submit an annual, detailed report to Congress on the use of ‘official time’ by federal employees, outlining specific types of activities or purposes for which this time was granted.
“Official time is defined as any period of time used by a federal employee to perform representational or consultative functions during which the employee would otherwise be in a duty status. Essentially, this allows federal employees to perform union activities during their official workday. As a member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR), and former chair of its Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, I have learned firsthand that OPM has very little accountability for the use of official time.
“In fact, the last time OPM reported about the use of official time was in 2012. The report stated federal employees spent roughly 3.4 million hours conducting union business while on duty. This came at a cost of $157 million to the taxpayers. At a time when our country is nearly $20 trillion in debt, we need to ensure that we are better accounting for the use of taxpayer dollars. This legislation will bring greater transparency to the activities union officials are conducting while being paid by the American taxpayer. I encourage OGR and my colleagues to quickly consider and pass this common sense bill.”
H.R. 1293 passed the full House of Representatives last July as part of H.R. 4361, the Government Reform and Improvement Act of 2016.